Jai Jagat Theatre, Ahmedabad
The Jai Jagat Theatre sits on a corner site in the environs of the Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad. Flanked by historic buildings and located within a historic landscape of the Sabarmati Ashram, the structure is a response to both – an immediate demand of a performance space, and a more abstract, visceral connection to the environment within which it is located.
A space that gestures towards Gandhi’s principles, the structure in its nature belongs to the idea of a landscape more than of a building and responds subtly to the features of the site: the trees, the gentle slope, the structures in vicinity.
While attempting to harmonise respectfully with the Ashram environs, the Jai Jagat Theatre also stands independent in its materiality and expression. SEALAB, the architects, have consciously created a beautiful sequence of spatial experiences to lead one from the edge of the compound to the sanctum of the theatre. The architectural intervention is mindful of not just the space but the way one gets there.
While the sweeping white wall creates a refined enclosure for the theatre, the punctures, the steps and a ‘Juliet balcony’ in the wall contribute to the performance in the space – a part of the ‘set’ – a commitment to the fact that architecture is a part of the purpose of the building, not just an inert envelope. The section enables one to understand the relationship between the performer, the audience and the surrounding landscape.
The role of small public projects in contemporary urban life cannot be underestimated. They demand great sensitivity, an astute understanding of context, an ability to negotiate with multiple stakeholders and a know-how of working within frugal budget frameworks. SEALAB has ensured that the intervention is an independent construct with its distinct architecture, respectful of its historic context and mindful of its contemporary use; and therefore, Jai Jagat Theatre is a citation project in The Merit List.
Photographs by Ayush Gajjar, Dhrupad Shukla, Anand Shukla, Nimo Patel, Harshil Shah, Karan Verma, Murtaza Gandhi, Bhagat Odedra, Anand Sonecha